Richard McCaie, a retired school teacher, found a 17th-century gold ring estimated to be worth £12k at auction while planting a bush in his back garden 15 years ago. The gold seal ring dates back to 1620 and was discovered about 10 inches below the ground of McCaie’s Grade II listed 16th-century farmhouse in Braunton, Devon. Now, it is going up for auction with an estimated value of £8,000-£12,000.
According to Nigel Mills, an artefacts and antiquities consultant at Noonans auction house, the ring likely belonged to Humphrey Cockeram of Cullompton in Devon. Mills said that the Cockeram family was a great patron of the church, and the family name comes from Old English meaning “dweller by the stream.” The ring bears a seal with the family’s coat of arms and the initials H C behind.
McCaie initially did not realize the significance of the ring but was thrilled by the find. He said, “We were amazed when Noonans told us the value, and we are planning to use the proceeds from the sale to help our children.”
The ring will be sold at Noonans in a sale of jewellery, watches, and objects of vertu on March 14, 2023. Further information on bidding is available on their website, www.noonans.co.uk.